Nigeria News

‘My Brother Forced Me into Boko Haram’

An arrested member of the outlawed Boko Haram sect Saturday painted a gory picture of life within the enclave the sect members had been pushed to by the military forces.
According to him, many of the sect members are living as if in hell and if not for fear that they could be killed if caught by the group they would have fled their forest camps.
The captured Boko Haram member was allowed by military authorities to recount his ordeal to journalists.
He said his brother forced him into the Boko Haram sect.
Accoding to him, the brother was always coming home with guns, which he would hide at home.
The 22-year-old member of the terrorist group, while advising youths to stay far away from the sect, said life of Boko Haram sect members was a life of hardship through and through.
He stated that his brother told him he had a choice to either join the sect or get killed, as he was already aware of some of the group’s secrets.
He said his brother, who had since been killed in one of the attacks launched by the sect, equally told him that either way he would be killed if he did not join the sect as he was at the mercy of the Boko Haram or the soldiers that may come home looking for him.
On how he was captured, he said: "We launched an attack in Damboa and I was shot and my colleagues who thought I was killed left me behind but later when I regained consciousness I crawled to the road.
"I was picked up by the police later and I told them I was willing to volunteer information. I was asked by a senior police officer how I got recruited into the group, which I told him. He later handed me over to the army where I was kept since."
The sect member, who said once initiated into the group, it was suicidal to denounce its membership, added "We are counted after every week or two to know who might have left and any of us found missing will be looked for and if he is found to have fled would be slaughtered if caught."
He said he fled from the group to Lagos at a particular point, but came back and that his life was spared after a long argument.
The sect member, now on clutches, said should the federal government grant him amnesty, he would like to be a soldier fighting on the side of the nation, stressing that while in the forest camp he lived a life of perpetual fear. "Sometimes when we going for attacks I always felt like hiding. But there is no place to hide for me," he said.
He said he has come to realise that there is nothing religious in their fight against the Nigerian government, "I now see it as banditry but others that are still there see it as a Jihad, working for God."
He also revealed that the war being waged by the sect was now against everybody and anybody, and not restricted to the army or police as it used to be in the past.
The sect member said once the society had shown resentment against them and and chased them away from particularly Maiduguri, they chose to take the battle to the civilian Joint Task Force members and every resident of Maiduguri in sight and this was responsible for the highway attacks.
He said the sect had lots of food and medicine in their stores, adding that during "our raids we steal food and medicine and other needs which we keep in our stores."
Meanwhile, the Acting Brigade Commander of 21 Armoured Brigade, Maiduguri, Col. Ibrahim Yusuf, said the federal government had always shown that it was ready to end the Boko Haram crisis as soon as possible and was still willing to give amnesty to any of the sect members who is ready to drop his arms to embrace peace.
He said: "Once you come out, we will treat you as a captured member, we all know the intention of government to see an end to this crisis."

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